Caltrans brings in second drill for Hwy 236 project

     Caltrans is hauling in a second drill Tuesday, June 30 to help speed up the progress on rebuilding Highway 236 at Acorn Drive. The area, about two miles up from downtown, has been closed to traffic since March storms undermined the road.      This holiday weekend, Caltrans hopes to help area businesses and parks out by reopening one lane to motorists. “We’re committed to get this road open,” said Barry Dunlap, Caltrans project manager. “The two drills will help us get this done as quickly as possible, rather than extend the closure date.”      The northbound lane was damaged three months ago in heavy rain. Both directions of traffic had been using the southbound lane with the help of a signal light until Caltrans closed the road June 22 to begin emergency repairs.      While the southbound lane will reopen to two-way traffic July 15, the $750,000 project will wrap up before school starts in August, he said.      Construction crews are working 12-hour days Monday through Saturday to expedite the reopening of the road. They’ll take this weekend off, though, Dunlap said.      “It’s a beneficial thing for the park and the golf course,” he said.      This Saturday and Sunday, Caltrans plans to temporarily open the southbound lane to two-way traffic to avoid impeding Fourth of July business at the Boulder Creek Country Club and Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Dunlap said.      Also during the holiday weekend, a security firm will be stationed 24-hours each day, starting Friday night, to protect the site from vandals and thieves, he added.      So far, every night since the project began, someone has been taking cones, caution tape and other easily movable barricades that block access to the 80-foot-deep hole that was once Highway 236’s northbound lane and throwing them into the hole, Dunlap said.

Dealing with the closure

     While an inconvenience, most residents seem to be taking the closure in stride. The flaggers are getting many waves, smiles and “Thank You’s” from drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, they said.      But not everything has been a bed of roses. At least two motorists have run out of gas on the narrow, mountainous Acorn Drive, requiring flaggers to stop the flow of traffic in both directions so the California Highway Patrol could go up, give them a gallon of gas and send them on their way.      What’s more, the CHP reports there were a couple hit-and-run traffic collisions in the area. Early Friday morning, someone struck a vehicle on Acorn Drive and took off without leaving a note. There also was a hit-and-run crash on the alternate route of Jamison Creek Road Friday afternoon. No one was able to catch a description of the offending vehicles.

Mountain driving 101

     Mountain residents encourage motorists to chill out, enjoy the scenery and follow the rules of the road.      Jim Kelley of Acorn Drive reminds motorists who drive on narrow, mountain roads that when two vehicles come nose-to-nose on an incline that the vehicle traveling down hill must back up and yield the right of way to the driver trying to get up the hill.      And Ann Thryft, a Highway 236 resident advises drivers to slow down and not tailgate the car in front of them.      “Mountain roads require you to slow down, especially around blind curves, and leave a safe following distance in front of you,” she said. “People in front of you may be turning off to go into their driveways, which are not like the big, obvious, easy driveways in suburbia and may take a few moments to negotiate.”
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One Response to Caltrans brings in second drill for Hwy 236 project

  1. Alba Driver says:

    Maybe CalTrans could fix the ever growing pot hole on Alba just down from Empire Grade. It’s at least 3 by 4 feet now I’d say…

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